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Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.

-Longfellow, A Psalm of Life

Hello, my name is Yingbo Song and I am a fourth year PhD student in the computer science department at Columbia. Before this I was a masters student here between September 2005 and December 2006. I am majoring in computer science with a research focus on machine learning-based intrusion detection systems and network security. Machine Learning can be roughly described as artificial intelligence, reinvented by statisticians. It is a rapidly growing discipline that - in a nutshell - tries to train computers to automatically learn to solve problems based on examples, with the goal that the quality of the derived solutions improves over time as more experience is gained.
     Intelligent machines can be deployed to a broad range of tasks, such as playing chess, driving tanks, predicting stock market performances or searching for Sarah Connor, or in my case, learning to detect if someone is trying to hack into your network. They can be designed to do things and go to places that a human can't or won't. Hopefully, they will eventually outperform their human counterparts. That day, however, is still years away -- we really don't appreciate the true enormity of human intelligence until we try to emulate it.

I am affiliated with Columbia's IDS lab primarily, I also work with the Machine Learning lab and Network Security Lab.

My Erdős number is at most 4: Yingbo Song → Tony Jebara → Tommi Jaakkola → Noga Alon → Paul Erdős


     I was born in Harbin, China and came to the U.S. when I was eight years old. I lived in Flushing Queens in NYC then moved to New Jersey where I attended high school and did my undergraduate studies, and now I'm back in the city for Columbia. When I was younger I liked rollerblading, sketch art and computers. These days my main interests are in computers, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Tae Kwon Do, recreational shooting, road cycling, and reading. I like to read about politics, philosophy, history and anything military-related. On my bookshelf you'll find Stroustrup next to Vapnik next to Clausewitz. The picture above was taken during the summer of 2008 while I was working at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque New Mexico, I got to fly a plane around Kirtland Airforce Base and the Sandia mountains.
     I study machine learning because I believe that this field, and related disiplines, can be used to reduce the human cost of war in the future. For each dangerous position filled by an intelligent machine another soldier could get a chance to go home.
     Anyways, welcome to my site. Here, you will find some information about me, my academic life, research interests and projects, some interesting quotes that I've collected, and various computer related stuff. Feel free to send me an email if you have any questions or comments.



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